Gravenhurst Against Poverty could be a few weeks away from beginning work on its affordable housing project.

Bonnie Dart, Chair of Gravenhurst Against Poverty (GAP), says a trustee has been appointed for the estate of Dap Thach who passed away in March. Thach owned what is known as the Ing Building at 325 Muskoka Road South in Gravenhurst, where he operated his accounting building. 

With a trustee in place, it means the building could soon be on the market, according to Dart. She adds it would surprise her if this process took longer than a couple of weeks.

Before Thach suddenly passed away at the age of 48, Dart says an agreement was in place for it to be used as a young adult centre with affordable housing units and a retail space created as well. Dart says his passing made the agreement null and void and left GAP scrambling. 

“For the past nearly eight months we’ve been waiting for the trustee of the estate to have control over it to be able to then put the building on the market,” Dart explains, adding they only found out about the trustee a few days ago. 

Last week, Dart asked Gravenhurst council to contribute an annual amount equivalent to the Ing Building’s tax bill, a one-time donation of $30,000, and a $50,000 low-interest loan. Dart noted their requests are similar to what council does for other not-for-profits like Ryde Community Co-op, the Gravenhurst Women’s Centre, and the Gravenhurst Seniors Centre. 

A decision was referred to the 2022 budget deliberations. 

If GAP is able to purchase the building, their partners Raising the Roof will be brought in to evaluate the building and help them move forward with the project.

Raise the Roof writes on its website that its mission is to “provide national leadership on long-term solutions to homelessness through partnership and collaboration with diverse stakeholders, investment in local communities, and public education.”

Dart says they aren’t sure on the timeline, but estimates that, if all goes according to plan, the units could be open by March 2023.